Toe Story

Transcript by Sandra Schmidt

When the news broke that world champion McKayla Maroney was not able to train fully just a few days before the Olympics opened fans were worried whether she would be able to compete at all. Maroney is by far the best vaulter in the world and is expected to easily win her second gold today.

While injuries are an integral part of the sport – there is probably hardly a gymnast competing in London that isn’t hurting and/or carrying some sort of injury – information on injuries is, to put it nicely, not always forthcoming. Maroney’s toe was no exception. The gymternet posted, tweeted and facebooked itself into a frenzy prior to the Olympics. The media were treated to some rather bizarre scenes in the mixed zone following the US team’s podium training. Maroney and US team coordinator Marta Karolyi offered different versions of the same story, standing only centimeters away from each other. You be the judge…

Following is the transcript:

McKayla Maroney

Q: “Does the toe hurt?”

A: “It does hurt, I mean it is broken, how is it not going to hurt? (laughs) I try to ignore it, I have worked so hard to be here that I can ignore the pain for a little bit. I am just icing it, doing a lot of therapies for it. Everything I can do, [I have] acupuncture every single night. The bone split. It was already split before, so I just split it even more. So it is like an old break but it is more like split.”

Q: “Did it bother you before?”

A: “Yes, it did. I have always taped my two toes together, but on the first day [of training in London] I didn’t have it taped, doing the round off.”

Q: “When was that?”

A: “On the first day, first event, first beam routine.”

Q: “Do you feel it when vaulting?”

A: “Yes, when running, but when I am vaulting I try to ignore it. I worked so hard to get to this point and did way too many vaults to think about the pain, so I am fine.”

Q: “If you had said you weren’t going to compete..”

A: “I wouldn’t have said that. I am here at the Olympics, I have to compete and I want to compete. I have been working for that since I was a baby, so I am not going to give up, no matter what.”

Marta Karolyi:

Q: “Is it normal or an exception to have a gymnast competing on a broken toe?”

A: “She doesn’t have a broken toe!”

Q: ”She just told us!”

A: “Okay, well, then you should ask our doctor, because the doctor took her to the x-rays.”

Q: “What do you say she has?”

A: “She has a jammed toe or whatever. She definitely doesn’t have a broken toe, because she was taken immediately for x-ray. So we are taking a good care of our gymnasts, and if they have a little injury we immediately want to find out what is the problem and based on what the doctors advise is we will do what is necessary”

Q: ”Didn’t Dominique Moceanu compete on a stress fracture in her tibia?”

A: “It is always a gymnast’s choice if they want to. They can just say I cannot do it and don’t be an Olympian. Nobody forces nobody to do it. For instance Chellsie Memmel, yes she broke her foot at the Beijing Olympic Games and she wanted to do the bar routine for the team and for herself to be an Olympian. Totally, absolutely, totally is their decision, absolutely, we have no say so.”

Q: “So again – the toe is not broken?”

A: “Not broken.”

Q: “It’s jammed?”

A: “Jammed, bruised, I don’t know, it was black and blue, the x-ray didn’t show any break.”